A LUANSHYA local court has dismissed a case in which a woman of Chingola’s Chiwempala township was demanding a refund of K5,000 in tithes and offerings from the Apostolic Church of Zambia-Word Centre (ACZ).
Senior presiding magistrate in Luanshya, Fred Hamalangwe, who sat with magistrates Judith Bwalya and Nonde Chibuye, dismissed the matter on grounds that the complainant had no proof of payment to the church.
He also told her, ‘Tithes and offerings are given out of a person’s own free will to God expecting nothing in return.”
According to the complainant, Esther Chisala, 50, she joined ACZ in 1996 and had been a member ever since and once its treasurer.
She said she rendered good service to the church, citing the case when she advised the current pastor to move from the more expensive house the church was renting for him to a smaller and cheaper one.
She suggested this caused the pastor to develop an attitude towards her. “I did everything in my means to provide for the pastor and his family but when I asked him to move he developed a grudge on me,” Ms Chisala said.
She said in 2004 she started having marital problems which led to her divorce and that she lost two of her children but that during the tough times the church rendered no help.
“I asked for help from the church in my times of trouble but they ignored me and said I had demons and was in need of prayers,” she said.
Ms Chisala said she gave to the church to receive blessings from God as well as get help from the church in times of need.
ACZ administrator Chesterman Mubanga said the complainant was a member of the church in 1996 but since then, had not renewed her membership nor attended church.
Mr Mubanga said Ms Chisala went to the church last year asking it to build her a house and give her K30,000.
“I first met her in 2016 when she told me that she wanted the church to build her a house and give her a sum of K30, 000 for her business. I told her the church was in no capacity to help her in such a way,” he said.
He said Ms Chisala then asked for transport to go home, which he gave her and she left.
“We then received a call-out from police by Ms Chisala saying she needed compensation of K5,000 from the church,” Mr Chesterman said.
Ms Chisala said she had, on countless occasions, asked for the church’s help and support because she was suffering but was given a deaf ear and that the church administrator was a liar who had tented her name.
Mr Mubanga said Ms Chisala had shown much disrespect for the church’s leadership by insulting them.